Kalimpong has been battered with landslides this year beginning with Cyclone Aila.
Save The Hills has prepared a comprehensive case study with details on various areas of the town that have been affected after the Aug 19th slides.
… and an excerpt:
1. Meteorological background.
While rainfall data for the months of May, June and July 2009 reveal that the district has had deficient rainfall, what is significant is that rainfall has been extremely erratic.
Thus, despite less precipitation, we have had major landslides this year coinciding with periods of intense, heavy rainfall:-
* 24 May – 27 May 2009 – Cyclone Aila – Resulted in 27 deaths and major destruction in Darjeeling and Kurseong
* 2 July 2009, 112mm of rain (in Kalimpong) – Resulted in some deaths and a large number of landslides in Nimbong (Kalimpong sub-division).
* 15 Aug 2009, 62mm of rain over 18hr period – Resulted in death and destruction in Kurseong and Kalimpong
* 19 Aug 2009, 189.2mm of rainfall in Kalimpong – Resulted in major destruction in and around Kalimpong town and several deaths in Mirik, Kalimpong subdivision and Sikkim.
Historically speaking, most of the major landslides in Darjeeling district have occurred towards the end of the monsoons i.e. when the earth is saturated with water and the trigger for landslides is a burst of high intensity rainfall.
Thus, severe landslides occurred in the district in Sep1899, Oct1968 and Sep2007.
As such the urgent need for preparedness to deal with recurrence of such devastation during Aug-Oct 2009.